Swarming bees kill elderly Texas couple
The species of bee involved in a fatal attack on an elderly couple has not been identified, a Texas paper reports.
April 20th, 2011
10:57 AM ET

Swarming bees kill elderly Texas couple

An elderly Texas couple were killed by bees this week after they apparently tried to remove the insects from a fireplace in a house on a remote ranch, the Valley Morning Star reported Wednesday.

William Steele, 90, died Monday in the house on a ranch outside Hebbronville, Texas, about 100 miles west of Corpus Christi. His wife, Myrtle Steele, 92, died Tuesday after she was flown to a Corpus Christi hospital, the couple's daughter-in-law, Judy Steele, told the newspaper.

Judy Steele told the paper that the bees swarmed when her father-in-law sprayed a hive the insects had built in the small home's fireplace.

Her husband, Richard Steele, was with his parents when the attack occurred, Judy Steele, told the Morning Star. He was also stung but was able to drive several miles to the nearest phone to call emergency services, she said. There is no cell phone service in the remote area, she said.

Jim Hogg County sheriff's deputies responded and told the paper they were able to get Myrtle Steele out of the house.

“We were getting stung in the process, but we were able to place a blanket over her and take her to an awaiting ambulance - we did what we could,” the paper quoted Deputy Reyes Espinoza as saying. William Steele died inside, Espinoza said.

Judy Steele said her mother-in-law was stung more than 300 times.

Espinoza told the paper the species of bee involved in the attack had not been identified and the hive had yet to be removed from the house.

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Filed under: Animals • Bees • Texas
soundoff (379 Responses)
  1. roughriderci

    What an Un-BEElievable story!

    April 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Be Quiet

    Man, this story is a real buzz kill.

    April 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. beelady

    This is a terribly tragic affair. This is also why it is not a good idea to try and remove bees without the help of an experienced beekeeper.

    April 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kittie

    sorry for your loss and making bee remarks is not right. we should be praying for the family who loss there dear ones who are close to them. and yes dieing from bee stings is a horrible way to go. but its still not right to write rude remarks on here. we have to be concerite of others

    April 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris Dowd

    When I was 4 or 5 years old- I drove my "Big Wheel" into a bush in our driveway that had a bees nest. I was stung about 20 times. I don't remember screaming- or much after that- but I'm told my screams were so loud that people down the block came running. The next memory I have is me sitting on the family couch in front of the TV with my stings covered in some white cream and because I was stung in the mouth as well- I got to have popsicles. Since then I have a life long aversion to bees.

    I wonder what type of spray they used? When I was a teen- I painted houses in the summer- old colonials- and at the paint store I went to- they were selling on the down low- a spray that had just been discontinued as it had too much poison in it I guess. This stuff was called simply "Blast" I think. It killed bees and wasps literally on contact. They dropped right out of the air even. The newer sprays didn't work that fast.

    April 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Genius

      In your position, I would have also developed a lifelong aversion to popsicles.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. T

    What? All Texans are racist now? Stereo typing is just as bad if not worse than being racist

    April 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tony

    Who said that they are racists? You were the one inserting that issue here. Do you think that killing bees is racist? What a simple minded dork!

    April 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chopswell

      I suppose, in order to calm the liberals, we must be politically correct and call them by their rightful name; African-Americanized Bees. (They bee da wunz wit da FROE)

      April 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldostritch

      You probably couldn't tell the difference between a bee or wasp or a hoverfly.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • skytag

      That's really kind of childish.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jonathan

    My thoughts go out to the family and may the couple be at peace.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy

    My sincere sympathy to the family who lost their loved ones.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Liam

    poor family ..To live that long and be killed by Beez.. How can we not know in this day an age what kind of Bees they are? Actually the way things are going I'm not suprised..lol

    April 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • and?

      Doesn't matter what kind of bees they are. When you attack a bee hive they all act the same way. That doesn't require any special knowledge, it's common sense.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Quincey9

      Great name! Mine too.

      April 20, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. me

    reply doesn't work...my comment was ment for Bender above.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bookenz

    Earthquakes, tsunamis, killer bees swarms What next?

    April 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. WildMontana

    This is quite sad. Bee and yellowjacket hives are best removed by professionals. Whether they were Africanized or not, they were taking a defensive stand. We all need to remember that bees are our friends. Without them, the world would be a very hungry place.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. service dude

    A bee is love

    April 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RoppeRubber

    Why can't we all BEE nice ?

    April 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
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